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Shooting at the Empire State Building or was it on TV?

Was anyone surprised when alerts began popping up on iPhones or Droids last Friday as a fired employee zeroed in on his former boss and pulled the trigger? NYPD officers immediately cornered the assailant on Fifth Avenue and a gunfight pursued. Officers fired about 16 rounds at the killer. Of those 16 rounds fired by officers some hit passersby, injuring several.

So, once again the craziness of Hollywood plays out on the streets of America.

As I arrived at the office Sunday evening, one of the reports coming in was that a suicidal man with a rifle had been reported. Again, it could have come from the silver screen or one of the gazillion television mini dramas that enters our home every night.

What is it that has captivated the screen writers and actors of America’s make believe world in Hollywood? They do know that killings, gun battles and crime scene investigations are the rage.

Think about it — the most watched program for nearly a decade has been NCIS. Every episode is about a dead Marine or a member of the Navy. LeRoy Jethro Gibbs and his associates always catch the perp, but the violence that leads up to the capture is often over the top.

There is no irony lost on the fact that the gunman in Aurora, Colo., was acting out one of the characters in the opening night of the “Dark Knight Rises” another action-packed thriller on the bullet-riddled streets of — where else — Gotham City, aka New York City.

While superficial thinkers are vilifying the weapons used in both Friday’s killing and that of the Aurora theater massacre, no one is so much as raising the possibility that we are being brainwashed by the violence on the big screen and every episode of Criminal Minds, NCIS, CSI, CSI New York, or any number of mind-numbing programs that invade our homes and the minds of millions sitting like zombies in front of the 52-in., high def, digital monitor in surround sound to a world of make-believe that potentially warps the minds of every viewer into thinking that they are watching a documentary based on “fact.”

Some would argue that is an oversimplification on my part. Is it? Wasn’t the zombie-like young University of Colorado Ph.D. candidate acting out what the “Dark Knight Rises” nemesis was in the movie’s plot?

Has our society become so wrapped up in the fantasy world of Hollywood, we are incapable of sorting out fact from fiction? It’s time to demand more creative movies and programming from the minds of Hollywood’s elite.

Keith Hansen

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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